It doesn’t seem that long ago since Virgil Van Dijk flew into Glasgow to start his Celtic career – I suppose maybe because it wasn’t that long ago.
When he signed from FC Groningen the consensus among media in Holland was that Celtic had landed a fantastic talent in the big defender, and bhoy was that an understatement.
Van Dijk has been a revelation!
Coasting through so many games this season, making it look so easy in the process. One tabloid jokingly remarked that you had to look closely at Van Dijk to make sure he wasn’t smoking a cigar during the game. He even managed to settle Efe Ambrose down, who has came on leaps and bounds beside the big Dutchman.
The question is now – Can we hold on to him?
He is one year in to a four year deal so the ball is in Celtic’s court. It’s a question of football or finance.
If the hierarchy want Celtic to truly progress next season then keeping Virgil around should be at the top of their agenda. They should make it abundantly clear to any suitors that he’s not for sale!
While the player might fancy a move to the Premiership next season, it’s vital that Lennon takes him aside and tells the defender to give us one more outstanding season before heading to pastures new.
I understand that everyone has their price and if a ridiculous bid was to come in for Van Dijk then the club would be foolish not to take it. BUT is anyone really going to pay a ridiculous sum for a defender from the Scottish Premiership? Southampton got Wanyama for £12 million and I still think that was a steal in todays market.
If he gets into the Dutch World Cup squad and impresses in Brazil then it may only be a matter of time.
I do think however the Dutchman and Celtic can both benefit from one more season together. Another crack at the Champions League will do him no harm at all.
But if we were to let him go in the summer alongside Fraser Forster then I will really start to worry about the Champions League qualifiers.
We need some sort of continuity going forward and Virgil gives us a fantastic foundation.
If we do keep Van Dijk beyond this season then regardless of who we bring in this summer that will be our best bit of business.